The housing market has been in a bit of a slump, and a number of industry players are banking on a coming wave of Millennial homebuyers to prop it back up.
But according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, those young buyers may never come knocking.
Census Bureau estimates the number of Millennials – those born from 1981 to 1995 – to be about 67.7 million, the article states, and they are just reaching the age of homeownership.
But while many have said this massive group will reinvigorate the housing market, this has yet to happen, the WSJ points out, adding that perhaps the action has been delayed because the recession hit just as many Millennials were entering the workforce.
This left them with greater levels of student debt and likely delayed life events like marriage and children, which impact the decision to purchase a home. But maybe there’s more to it.
From the article:
“Some of the scars left by the financial crisis may never fully fade, though, limiting the number of Millennials who achieve homeownership at any point in their lives. Take, for instance, the belief widely held until the bust that houses were a great investment because home prices never fall. Millennials learned during the crisis that this simply isn’t true. Like previous generations who came of age during hard economic times, they may be less willing to take on financial risks than people born in more prosperous periods.”
On top of this, the WSJ suggests that perhaps homeownership is less appealing than it once was thanks to 2017 tax cuts that reduced the financial incentive, a general aversion from banks to originate smaller home loans, and an increased preference for urban life.
But perhaps not all is lost.
“It still seems likely that, as they age, many Millennials will catch up with their predecessors and finally buy a place of their own,” the article concludes. “But when it comes to the housing market, the Millennial buying wave may end up being little more than a ripple."